Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Bong Connection

Correct me if I am wrong, but the world to me is primarily divided into two categories of homosapiens—the Bongs (Amra Bangali) and the non-Bongs (Obangali). Ask a Bengali who wasn’t raised in Bengal and he’ll almost immediately give you innumerous accounts of how even he has often been singled out, tagged with a “probashi” status in his own league and reminded that his culture is perhaps “slightly different” from those raised on the soils of Bengal. To the “Amra Bangali” confederation, much as you may beg to differ, you are either a Bong or an alien (oh yes, you may not have a fluorescent green glowing face and two little antenna, but then who cares?). Marxist or Martian..the choice is clear!

That leaves us all with the question—who is a True Blue Bong? The wise men would claim, “One who thinks before the world does.” To which, I would love to humbly add, “…and reacts after everyone else does”. Jokes apart, given the benefit of our intellectual progression, the quintessential Bong is always ahead of his times; he rightfully deserves every bit of the quiet and respite (lyaadh in the campus lingo) that follows once the issue has moved from the mind to execution. He’s an intellectual, you see. His job is to perceive before anyone else. The lesser mortals can then follow up and do the rest. You can go struggle for the Victoria Cross. The Bong with a capital B (and I mean underlined and in shining neons!) is happy to keep his Nobel and Oscar. You don’t believe me? Find me a rickshaw puller who earns less than $5 a day and spends a cent watching a Ray film or reads the newspaper in any other race, and I’ll give you my right arm (Well….that I may have the latent potentials to be ambidextrous is another story we can discuss some other time!).

Undoubtedly, the nectar of our intellectualism seeps deep into our bone marrows and we find its manifestations at rather odd places. Ask a typically “probashi” and he’ll agree. “What do you mean by pujo pujo feel, neel akashe shona shona roddur? It’s just a bright September morning and it’s not raining!” You don’t agree to such “nirosh” weather updates, do you? I certainly do not.

By now, you probably know what I am rambling about and perhaps can identify with a chunk of it too. Simply put, we find great meanings in little things in life and the NASDAQ or gung-ho about an economic downturn doesn’t quite bother us as long as we have one good book to read, one cup of Darjeeling tea every morning, the refrigerator stacked with cleaned and salted maach and mishti, one “must see/must hear” theatre, concert or movie ticket in our pockets and an eight-hour sleep on our own beds. Trust me, ladies and gentleman, no one else in the world happily chooses jhaal muuri and phuchka over any other delectable snack, no one else plans a lavish vacation every year no matter how crunchy the pockets are (we call it deshe phera or bari jawa), nowhere else in the world do people have a hint of what a nirbhejal adda with a slice of gaan, khawadawa, alochona on politics, films, literature, art and topped with harmless PNPCs, could mean. Talk about high altitude, and you'll see a Bong draped in mufflers and monkey cap drinking tea from his flask on the Alps; take a dive deep into the underwaters of Malaysia and you can't miss the shankha pola on your scuba diving partner's thin arms; up in the air on a parachute in Bali...and be sure you can hear someone parasailing by crooning "Emni korei jaaye jodi din jaakna"... the over enthusiastic Bong is everywhere, at least in his dreams.

We select “dokra” and “dosta” over gold and diamonds; we think glittering sequins are passĂ©, dig into our grandmother’s closets and create a rage in design with the simplest of embroidery and call it “kantha”, we prefer ilish to caviar, our homes have at least one terracotta piece, and “Purano shei diner kotha” is our national anthem, whether we are in Singapore, Chicago or Timbuktu. No matter what the color of our passport is, we are… always and everywhere Bongs first!

To that Bong cement that binds us (spirally sometimes) with Krishnakoli, Kaash Phool and Kolkata beyond time, geographies, and societies…..

With love, laughter and sunshine for a wonderful Debipokkhyo,

Ananya

29 comments:

  1. mam didi u make me feel homesick :-)
    bhishon sundor...loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My Debipokkhyo could not have started in a better way I must admit. Another thing that deeply connects Bongs like us is the endless list of "bhaggish". And like you I not only vehemently disagree with such a nirosh weather update, in fact i strongly believe that very few people can paint the nature so beautifully like us with our mood changes in different 'prohors'. Can life be really better when we can be so very happy with that every morning cup of Darjeeling Tea, must see/must hear theatre or concert or an innumerable times read shesher kobita or kalbela, or for that matter of fact standing on the footpath and relishing on that yummy phuchka or jhal muri and nirbhejaal adda over peyaji and gorom gorom bikeler cha? Perhaps that explains the beautiful and unique essence of Amra Bangali.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Besh nijeke convince kore niyechilaam je eibaar Pujo teh 'kash-phul' dekhte parbo na. Besh nijeke convince kore niyechilaam je eibaarow Doshomi r shidoore makha Kuurchi ke dekhte paarbo na. Besh nijeke convince kore niyechilaam je eibaar Doshomi r din thakuma r norom hath gaale chowaa paabo na. Besh nijeke convince kore niyechilaam je eibaar Pujor chaar-din Baba r ami daba khelte parbo na. Besh nijeke convince kore niyechilaam je eibar Pujo te dhaaker awaaj shunte parbo na.

    Tomar lekha teh shudhu matro ekta shobdo ..... "Debi pokhho" ... shob hisheb-nikesh ulte-palte dilo.

    Ebaar ami ki kori ?

    ReplyDelete
  4. hoyeto ba ei response ta onodhikar chorcha, tobe duto kotha bolte badhyo hocchi. ek, chomotkar lekha. dui, bhishon rokomer urban nostalgia. [rickshaw-walader satyajit ray'r cinema dekhar kotha ta bhishon odd theklo. amader parar kanai-da swapan saha'r cinema dekhe. alas!].
    ps: 'bong' akhya-ta kemon jeno king kong-er moton shonaye which translates in my book into a majorly misunderstood exception. tai ektu oshwosti hoye. hoyeto ba, on second thoughts, eta onek beshi apt than a mere 'bangali' as a self-definition. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. this is your best so far.. loved the maankey cap and chicago comments :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Any time...Any place...Bengalis Rock!!
    A typical "Bong" comment for Ananya's post

    "Byapok!..Kono katha hobe na!!"

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome as always....was waiting sooo long to read your blog again. Finally....a masterstroke...just on time!

    ReplyDelete
  8. One word or maybe two...phaataphaati

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shakha Pola scuba diving.....tooo good.... Mast hai... Faad diya tumne... ekdum Jhakkkkas...Durga Pujo on it s way... wat a splendid way to start the day...:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. enjoyed very much...one more to add...I couldn't find two bongs are similar in the world...(except general preference)..every one is with special 'marka maara' characteristics !

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just loveeeee it

    ReplyDelete
  12. Uffff...PAGOL. Lovely write up...got me nostalgic....and pepped up for pujo at the same time. Keep it up, girl.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Daaroon likhechish…that’s the spirit of true blue Bong like us…aamra bangali.."

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Ebaar to bangali komor bedhe lege porbey tor likha porey...ar boshe thakle chholey ei energising tonic peye;-))...darun darun!"

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oshadharon likhechhish! I always wonder how you hit upon and tickle just those right sentiments and feelings! prottek ta line pode mone hoy "how true" and ofcourse, it is always accompanied with half a smile on the lips.... :))"

    ReplyDelete
  16. "its beautiful...i had goosebumps...i mean could relate to it so much....proud to be a bong...cheers!!!"

    ReplyDelete
  17. As always...............flawless!
    As always...............touches the senses...
    Beautiful!!!--Sharmistha

    ReplyDelete
  18. very well written Mam ....suddenly I am feeling soo nostalgic....I dont speak hindi with the bong accent,stay in a different continent and am married to a gujarati for the last 10 years , but still the bong connection is what makes me "me" ...Cheers to being a Bong !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Absolutely wonderful write-up ! Enjoyed and cherished every moment while reading the piece. A glowing testimony to the skill, grace and style of one of the best contemporary authors - my mentor, Annie. :-) I am proud to be a Bong and I take every oppurtunity to flaunt my Bong status wherever I go....outside Bengal or outside the country. However, there are some Bongs who, inspite of being blessed with the fortune of being a Bengali, are ashamed to call themselves "Bong". To them, being a Bong is a social stigma. They acknowledge the fact that they have been bestowed with beauty and brains that are considered to be a hallmark of Bengal, but they prefer to call themselves "Non-Bengali". Infact, some people are so weird that they hate anything which makes them even remotely related to Bengal. To them, being a non-bengali is the "In Thing". Weird....but this is true for some of the most gifted women and men that I have encountered till date. I do not have anything against Non-Bongs....but I wish every Bengali gets a chance to read this amazing piece that Ananya has written. I am proud of my culture and I want every Bengali to cherish the good fortune of being a Bong ! Cheers to my mentor for producing such a magificient piece of literature.

    Keep posting Annie !

    Regards,
    Shoumik The Kiddo :D

    ReplyDelete
  20. Outstanding....flawless. Awesome blogs. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  21. puchkaa maankey cap and llyadh ...all in perfection

    ReplyDelete
  22. From emotional short stories to business reviews, from thought provoking articles to one such lively piece as this....a perfect tenner! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lovely read....and just on time!

    ReplyDelete
  24. "The wise men would claim, “One who thinks before the world does.” To which, I would love to humbly add, “…and reacts after everyone else does”." - this is not a joke any more when we look around and take a stock of the reality.

    However, reading your wonderful, humorous, witty and critical article - I am now getting more encouraged about the future of the 'Bongs'.

    Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  25. so true boudi....this piece got me all mushy and teary eyed :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. this was just what i needed on my first morning after just being back from 2 months in india...such a refreshing read! kintu tumi orkut theke gele kothay? needed to tell you about yet another common connection (albeit quite twisted)that i just found out...small world indeed. if you're not in orkut...drop a line at shatee_2001@yahoo.com, and we'll talk.

    ReplyDelete